Writer's Workshop

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MissScrimmage, May 1, 2010.

  1. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 1, 2010

    I have been reading a lot about Writer's Workshop lately. I don't do a formal workshop right now. Of course we've done writing this year, and we've had elements of a workshop, but it has been very directed by me. The students write the assignments I give them using the topics or genres I teach them. I'm wondering about a wide open Workshop where I teach mini-lessons and then leave the students to do their independent writing. How do you hold students accountable? I'm worried about a few of mine that wouldn't write ANYTHING. I honestly have some that could just sit then entire time.

    How do you teach students to get started and what sort of method do you use to ensure people are writing, because from what I'm reading it seems as though the teacher is supposed to be conferencing? Or am I misunderstanding my role?
     
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  3. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    May 2, 2010

    Whole class mini-lesson gives them a direction. Very few of my students are able to just start writing. Most want a direction, so they have picture prompts or a variety of prompts on the prompt board.

    I conference after the mini-lesson (which takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes). I tend to go to where they are working, rolling around in my teacher chair. I also can call a few to the back table and see what they have for vocabulary, or sentence variety, or whatever they need.

    Since we have a writing assessment in 5th, I do assign topics.
    I don't think I've ever just turned them loose to free write. Nice idea, but I can't do it if the state of Georgia insists on assessing them on whether they can write to a prompt. And I don't have time in the day for free-writing in a journal. The closest they come to that is a reflections journal about a book they've been reading.
     
  4. mrs100

    mrs100 Comrade

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    May 2, 2010

    You might want to look into a Lucy Caulkins set. She walks you through the entire year and explains workshop in a great way that's easy to understand. I also use a workshop approach by Dr. Maria Walther that is awesome. One idea to hold them accountable is to require them to turn in something once every two weeks or something. Have a file for each student and they are to put papers that are their 'best' work in the file when they are done. You can ask that they finish a piece in a certain genre or just let them free write. I usually start with a mini-lesson, and then provide them with ideas, but they are free to write whatever they want. Sometimes there are 'must do' projects, and sometimes its a free write. Good luck!
     

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